Exclusive interview with the man, who turned $5 into $1.3 million

PokerGurublog was first to get an exclusive interview with the "Moneymaker of online poker".

As it is very well known by now, Partypoker made history with its MILLIONS Online event, as they successfully ran the biggest online poker tournament ever.

The first two places went to long-time pros, and even though this amount of money ($2.3 million) is certainly a huge sum for them, the most stunning story is definitely the story of Slovenian player, Blaž "Scarmak3r" Žerjav, who managed to reach 3rd place for $1,364,688 after qualifying to the event from a $5 satellite.

We were lucky enough to be able to get an interview with the guy, who's one of the hottest people in online poker right now!

PGB: What can we know about you? Are you a student? Do you work? Do you live with friends/family?
Scarmak3r: Yes, a third-year student of English. Never really had a job. Played semi-professional football. I live with my girlfriend in a flat.

PGB: When did you start playing poker?
Scarmak3r: I started playing poker on Pokerstars when I was 18. Played on Zynga poker on Facebook, but it’s not really comparable.

PGB: What was your biggest score before the MILLIONS Online?
Scarmak3r: The biggest score was a win in the local casino’s main event for somewhere around $6k.

PGB: Do you consider yourself a recreational player or a professional?
Scarmak3r: Definitely a recreational player.

PGB: Does this win motivate you to become a pro player or you just want to use the money wisely to fulfill your dreams/goals?
Scarmak3r: It motivates me to work harder in order to become a pro player or at least a very decent player.

PGB: What did your family/friends think about you playing poker? What do they think now?
Scarmak3r: Overall, they were very supportive, even though many of them don’t know a lot about poker. Now I guess they’re even more supportive when they see the results. (laughs)

PGB: Did you think you have a shot at getting a seat to the MILLIONS Online when first playing the $5 satellite, or you just wanted to kill some time?
Scarmak3r: It was never about killing time. When I play poker I try to do my best to win. I knew the chance of actually beating all the satellites were slim, but I felt like the reward – playing the Millions event – was worth a try.

PGB: What was your reaction when you realized you got into the tournament?
Scarmak3r: I was really happy and excited I got a chance to play such an event.

PGB: What was your initial goal at the start of the tournament? Simply making the money? Or did you imagine winning it?
Scarmak3r: My goal was simply to concentrate and do my best. Even if I was to lose in day 1, I wouldn’t be too hard on myself if I believed I did my best. For day 2, the goal was to make the money, which seemed like a dream come true. From then on, every ladder is just another layer of icing on the cake.

PGB: What was your strategy? Did your strategy change when you reached the money? How did it feel when you made the money in the tournament?
Scarmak3r: I tried to avoid tough situations and made some nitty folds because of that. Definitely played on the more conservative side throughout the tournament. The strategy didn’t really change when we reached the money.

PGB: How did it feel when you made the final day? What was your strategy on the final day?
Scarmak3r: Marvellous. I was really happy I managed to get this far and even more thrilled because I knew I could climb even higher. The strategy was to stay in the game for as long as possible and ladder up.

PGB: Did you feel pressure at the later stages of the tournament because of the money?
Scarmak3r: Not so much pressure, but rather an excitement. There was no pressure on me, for example, to win a certain amount. I made my biggest score just by min-cashing the tournament.

PGB: What did you think about your opponents? Did you know some of them? Did you know how big players they were? (Apothesis, BenCB etc.)
Scarmak3r: Only learned that I was playing with BenCB after the tournament. Probably for the best. Didn’t know the rest. The only info about them was Sharkscope graphs and our hand history.

Infinite ROI for "Scarmak3r" 

PGB: What was your reaction when you realized you made $1.3 million?
Scarmak3r: I was stunned. Throughout the tournament, I was jumping around a lot – sometimes because of excitement and sometimes because of disappointment. But after busting in third, no more jumping around. I stayed glued to my chair.

PGB: How did your friends/family react?
Scarmak3r: Some friends were watching the stream and congratulated me immediately. My parents, on the other hand, found it hard to believe after I woke them up in the middle of the night. Overall, they were all very happy for me.

PGB: Did you celebrate the win? How? How big was the party?Smile
Scarmak3r: First went for a few beers with colleagues. The next day relatives came by and we had some toasts.

PGB: Did you get approached by the mainstream media after the win?
Scarmak3r: No. Some streamers and journalists in the poker community approached me.

PGB: Is this a big story in Slovenia? What were the reactions there?
Scarmak3r: It is big in a town where people know me. Everywhere else people probably don’t know much about it. Generally, people were pretty happy and congratulated me.

PGB: Did you get approached by "friends" who clearly only want to take advantage of your situation? How did you react?
Scarmak3r: I got approached by some people asking me to send them $10 or $20 to play poker. I just told them they have to work for it like everybody else.

PGB: Do you think your story can be the new "Moneymaker effect" and can result in online poker's next big "golden age"?
Scarmak3r: Perhaps the effect is not going to be as enormous, but the story can sure have an impact on the poker community. Like the “Moneymaker effect,” my story shows how it is still possible for an underdog to defy the odds and go deep in a big event. The dream is still alive.

Thank you for the interview and best of luck in your future life!